Either I’m getting old, or I’m just getting better and spotting oddities in how my brain works. I’ve never been able to nap. I lack the talent for it. So if I don’t sleep, I used to sleep in to compensate. Sleeping in, it appears, isn’t happening anymore. So while trying to figure out where this disconnected sense of anxiety was coming from, it took a long time to suspect sleep debt.
The symptoms of sleep debt are either obvious– falling asleep during the day and yawning– or not so obvious– free floating anxiety. And it appears causation goes in both directions– anxiety discourages sleeping and the body pumps itself full of anxiety causing neurochemicals to keep you awake when you’re overtired, creating a vicious cycle.
Ref. Sleep debt causes anxiety:
Sleep Deprivation and Anxiety
Original research using brain imaging & experimental subjects that skipped sleeping for 35 hours.
Sleep Debt is real.
Sleeping for 6 hours a day for a 10 days will cause people to behave as if they had skipped an entire night of sleep. However at least one researcher is skeptical of the existence of sleep debt.
Curing a Sleep Debt
It takes months to fix a chronic sleep debt. Other articles on the next are less pessimistic, see below.
Measuring Sleep Debt
According to this article– sleep debt goes up to about 20 hours, can be paid off by only 2 hours a day– max. Also, if you have 0 sleep debt, you can’t sleep in today to earn the ability to stay up late tomorrow, i.e. you can’t bank excess sleep. According to this, if you sleep an extra hour a day, i.e. about 9 hours, a maximal sleep debt can be paid off in 20 days, ten if you can manage to sleep 10 hours a day.
Typically these provide for recording an entry a day, a start/stop timer, graphs and sleep debt calculations
Android Apps for Sleep Debt
Sleep Bot– I’ve got one data point in this app. Whoo!